Friends, family attend “paddle out” for 16-year-old killed in NMB car crash

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – More than a hundred people took part in a “paddle out” in North Myrtle Beach to honor a 16-year-old girl killed in a car accident last week.

27th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach was packed with people taking their surfboards out to remember 16-year-old Malia Heiman.

Heiman was killed while driving to school last week on Highway 31.

Some of the people paddling out were very familiar with surfboards, but for others it was their first time.

“A country bumpkin like me could get out there,” said Don Bensen.

Benson came all the way from Colorado to celebrate the life of Malia, his niece and goddaughter.

“That {the paddle out} was probably the nicest send off for a loving soul like her that could happen,” he said.

After a brief ceremony on the beach, surfers grabbed a flower and hit the water.

Dozens circled past the breakers to say one last goodbye to Malia.

A unique goodbye, but Malia’s family says if you know her father, Misha Heiman, it was the only way to start the healing process.

“A peaceful feeling for my brother to be at the ocean; to be surfing; to be surrounded by water and the waves,” said Kira Connie Malia’s aunt.

Connie and her sister Sara Nelson grew up off of 27th Avenue in North Myrtle Beach.

The two sisters have since moved to different parts of the country, but say they feel grateful to know so many support their brother.

“We’re a close knit community. And I think ever though we moved away, and lots of folks have, it just so amazing to see so many people come together,” said Nelson.

Connie says Malia was always right by her father’s side.

She says the family may never fully heal, but Sunday’s paddle out is the best way to start.

“A huge part of our life is now missing, but I feel Misha will always be able to come out here and go surf and have a part of her {Malia},” said Connie.

Malia’s funeral is Monday at 4:00 at the McMillan Small funeral home on 67th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.

 

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